Stellar beaches, delectable jerk chicken, refreshing rum cocktails, and an easygoing vibe that instantly puts tourists in vacation mode make Jamaica a terrific destination. The Caribbean country's coastal towns all offer a dose of sunshine and culture, but they certainly have differences between them. Below, we've rounded up the top destinations in Jamaica, and picked a hotel for each budget, so you can find the perfect place to stay regardless of how much money you're willing to spend.
A laid-back beach town on Jamaica's westernmost coast, Negril is a popular spot for all types of travelers. The northern area is famous for its Seven Mile Beach, a stretch of beautiful white sand lined with hotels, fun bars, and vendors selling wood carvings and ganja. Farther south, tourists will find stunning cliffs that people routinely jump off, plunging into the blue sea-life-filled waters below. Cheap and tasty jerk shacks are found throughout, as are some healthy smoothie shops and buzzing bars slinging rum and Cokes.
- Budget: Westender Inn is a lovely, quiet boutique hotel that blends a beachfront and cliffside setting. The 28 rooms are charming and clean, and many have ocean-view terraces. Two pools, hammocks, and rentable snorkeling gear are perks, as is an all-day Jamaican restaurant serving tasty fare.
- Mid-Range: For travelers more interested in beach time than cliff-jumping, the Negril Tree House Resort is a good pick. Comfy rooms, a central location, free buffet breakfasts, and an ocean-view pool and hot tub are all found here.
- Luxury: One of the best all-inclusive, adults-only, and boutique hotels in Jamaica, The Caves is a romantic, cliffside property. Its 11 private cottages are colorful and spacious, and some have ocean-view terraces or outdoor showers.
Montego Bay is a convenient choice for many travelers due to it housing Sangster International Airport and the cruise port. In addition to its proximity to transportation, hotels in Montego Bay generally have pleasant beaches -- though not quite as impressive as in Negril -- several rooms, and ample amenities. The well-developed city also has the country's best golf courses, plus tour operators, car rental businesses, and late-night bars.
- Budget: One of the cheapest spots in Montego Bay, Toby's Resort is a 65-room, family-run hotel located at the beginning of MoBay's hip strip. Guests are within walking distance of Doctor's Cave and Cornwall beaches (both with entry fees), and there are two pools, two bars, and a restaurant on-site.
- Mid-Range: Although it has some dated decor, the Holiday Inn Resort Montego Bay is a solid option in this price range. Set along a half-mile of private sandy beach, a short drive from the airport, the hotel has multiple restaurants, kids' activities, adults-only areas, and water sports.
- Luxury: An impressive all-inclusive that's for adults only, the Hyatt Zilara Rose Hall is a stunner. With its sister property, amenities include nearly a dozen restaurants, two large pools, and an oceanfront spa. Modern, sleek rooms have private terraces.
Along the northern coast of Jamaica, just over a 90-minute drive east of Montego Bay, Ocho Rios is a busy town due to its cruise terminal. Many land travelers and cruisers come here for the abundance of things to do, ranging from climbing the beautiful Dunn's River Falls to swimming with marine life at Dolphin Cove to taking a dip at the Blue Hole.
- Budget: The 25-room Moxons Beach Club is a simple but charming property with a relaxed vibe, small beach, and ample outdoor terraces overlooking the ocean. Excellent Jamaican food is served at the restaurant, and rooms are equipped with all the necessities.
- Mid-Range: Spread across three clifftop acres, Hibiscus Lodge Hotel offers stunning sea views. Its 27 rooms are clean and comfortable, plus guests will find a pool, popular restaurant, and fun adjacent bar.
- Luxury: Just east of Ocho Rios is the fabulous GoldenEye, a historic property where Ian Fleming wrote his James Bond novels. Today, the 21 spacious cottages and villas overlook a private beach and lagoon, and there two happening restaurants, two pools, and a tree house spa.
About 30 minutes west of Ocho Rios, Runaway Bay has a few attractions, though it primarily draws tourists with its mega-resorts. Wonderful scuba diving, an 18-hole golf course, and easy access to Green Grotto Caves, an underground natural attraction named for the green algae that covers its walls, are additional pros. Hotels here have attractive beaches, but there's little else of interest in terms of dining and nightlife.
- Budget: As this is a small area, there's not a ton of inexpensive hotels, though the Cardiff Hotel and Spa has reasonable rates. The 56-room property isn't along the beach, but it has a well-kept pool, decent local restaurant, and 44 rooms with mini-fridges and private balconies.
- Mid-Range: For couples, the adults-only Jewel Paradise Cove Resort is an all-inclusive set along a white-sand cove beach. Here, modern rooms all have private outdoor space. Three pools (all with a swim-up bar and hot tub), free water sports, free excursions, and a la carte restaurants round out the features.
- Luxury: Although dated in areas, the Franklyn D. Resort & Spa is a kid-friendly property that lures families with its free nanny services, several recreational activities for kids and teens, and a sufficient stretch of beach. Suites are spacious and come with kitchenettes.
Many travelers go to Jamaica and never step foot in Kingston, located on the southeastern coast. But that would be a mistake, given that it's the capital and offers a great way for tourists to experience the country's culture. Top activities here include visiting the Bob Marley Museum, touring the Hope Royal Botanical Gardens, and attending events at Emancipation Park. Don't forget to head out to clubs for a night of dancing.
- Budget: The Liguanea Club is a members' sports and recreational club combined with a 38-room hotel. Eight tennis courts, six squash courts, an outdoor swimming pool, a restaurant, and a saloon-style bar are on-site. Plus, the colonial architecture channels a bygone era.
- Mid-Range: In the heart of New Kingston, The Spanish Court Hotel has 108 contemporary rooms with soaking tubs, an open-air bar, an infinity lap pool, and a spa. Breakfast is free, and management hosts free wine and cheese evenings occasionally.
- Luxury: Situated above the city, Strawberry Hill is a former coffee plantation nestled among the steep and winding hills of Jamaica's famous Blue Mountains. Housing just 12 cottages on more than 26 acres, plus a hilltop pool, the hotel is intimate, quiet, and gorgeous.
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